With the holidays over, and life slowing down a bit, I am able to get back into brewing.
This Christmas I got a new plastic Big Mouth Bubbler and a refractometer to assist in brewing my beer. I am now able to take reliable pre-boil readings when doing all-grain batches, which will help quite a bit over the next few months as I brew for my up-coming wedding! That’s right, I got engaged to by wonderful girlfriend and we will be having homebrew at the reception!
My first batch of the year, however, was simply for our enjoyment. It is a recipe I have made in the past and my fiance loved it, so I made it again. On January 2nd I brewed up the Bavarian Hefeweizen from Northern Brewer and got it fermenting. I plan on kegging it in another week or so, after it has a chance to rest and finish fermenting.
I will be keeping my beers logged throughout the year here, and will keep track of all wedding related items as well, though most of those will be on our wedding website over at http://www.venividiamavi.net, so be sure to check it out if you want to see non-beer related wedding info.
Hope everyone is having a great start to their year!
Well, tomorrow is already Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday! Not sure where the time has gone this year, but I’m certainly excited for a bit of time off and getting to see friends and family that I don’t see terribly often.
This year I brewed up the White House Honey Ale from Northern Brewer to share. It was a bit of a scramble to get it done in time since I lost track of time this year. Got it brewed up on 11-12-2014 and kegged it on 11-24-2014. Just barely enough time to get it chilled and force carbed before the holiday.
Hope everyone has a great holiday season, and look forward to more postings on this site moving forward as my goal for 2015 is to be much more active on the site.
Towards the end of last year I told myself that I would have kegging equipment by the end of 2013. I figured giving myself a year would be plenty of time to get all the equipment and would also give me time to hunt for the best prices. Well, thanks to my tax return I was able to get it sooner than I had planned!
I found a 5 cubic foot chest freezer on Craigslist for $40 and purchased all the kegging equipment, including the 2 used ball-lock kegs, from my local homebrew store. Got a call yesterday from them saying that the kegs finally arrived, so I stopped by to pick them up.
I had 2 batches of beer (a stout and a petite saison) ready to keg, so when I got home I quickly got down to sanitizing the kegs and transferring the beer over. Had some small issues with CO2 leaks, but tracked them down, tightened everything up, and it’s now sitting happy in the keezer. Now to wait for the beers to carb up (not going with a quick carb method, just the set and wait for these beers).
Just finished up another excellent brew day. Brewed up a batch of the Chocolate Milk Stout by Northern Brewer. It looks quite good and I can’t wait to try it. It should be ready in about 2 months. Attached are some pictures I took during the brew process. Ingredients and the like.
Was a pretty uneventful brew day overall, quite pleased with that. Shows that my process is getting more refined.
So I decided to make mead for the holiday season this year (may have started it a bit late, but oh well). The goal is to make 2 2.5 galon batches of mead, each with a different fruit.
I started by making a 5 galon batch of mead using 15 lbs of clover honey and mixing it with water. After pitching the yeast and waiting over 24 hours with no signs of fermentation I started to do some research. I found that honey and water alone isn’t ideal for mead (goes to show that sometimes just winging it doesn’t work). You need to add acidity and nutrient, of some sort, for the yeast to do their job. After researching this on Sunday I went for a late night store run to pick up some Simply Orange and some white raisins. I tossed in a handful of raisins (approximately 125 or so) and 2 cups of orange juice into the must (sanitized the equipment, not the ingredients) and stirred it around a bit to get it mixed up. Woke up the next morning to some signs of fermentation and it’s now bubbling away and getting faster as time goes.
Once I am done with the primary fermentation (about a month from now) I will transfer half of the batch into a 3 galon carboy with fresh cherries and the other half into another 3 galon carboy with fresh peaches. I will let them sit on the fruit for at least a month before stopping fermentation with some chemicals and bottling.
The gravity reading I had (before adding the orange juice and raisins) was 1.109. My calculator estimates it will ferment down to 1.030 (I am hoping for quite a bit lower) which will give the mead about 10.5% ABV. Should be a nice dry mead with some decent flavor from the fruits.
I will post pictures of the final product in a few months.
Can’t wait to taste it!
Well, Memorial Day Weekend is over and a great break from the grind, but now I am back at it and swinging hard.
The beers turned out amazing, though a bit over carbonated from the trip up there. Had to pour them slowly or I got nothing but head. I think the Surly Furious was my favorite, but everyone else seemed to enjoy the Honey Weizen more, go figure.
The weekend itself turned out amazing. Had great company and decent weather, though it was very windy for the first couple days. The high fire danger in the area also made it a bit more stressful than years past as we had to be extra careful with the fire when we were able to have it (once the wind died down). But even with the small handful of not-so-great aspects of the weekend, it was still one of my favorite years so far, especially getting to break in the new tent.
The new tent is HUGE. I swear it could almost fit my car inside. It is rated as an 8-person, 2-room instant tent and it lives up to that and more. We were able to fit 3 air mattresses in the tent and still have plenty of room to move around. I would say we could fit 10-12 people pretty easily if we don’t use the air mattresses. It also only took about 5 minutes to setup and take down. Seeing as how this was the first time using the tent I have to say, that’s pretty damn good!
So yeah, overall it was a great weekend with great friends, family and beer. Who could ask for a better Memorial Day Weekend?
And to all the veterans, alive or dead… thank you for all that you have and continue to do for this country that allows people like me to have such amazing weekends. You are true heroes.
Sorry for not posting for a long time, life has been kinda crazy lately and updating the blog on my beer brewing hasn’t been top of the priority list. I am back though and hope to post a lot more as I continue brewing.
Over the weekend I bottled two batches of beer for Memorial Day weekend. We go camping every year with a ton of friends and family and it’s always nice to be able to share my beer with them.
This year I brewed up a batch of Surly Furious, a pro kit from Northern Brewer, and a batch of Honey Weizen, also from Northern Brewer. I only got about 40 bottles of the Surly Furious, but it smells amazing. Can’t wait to taste it when it’s carbed and cold as it’s a bit bitter and odd tasting without those things. The Honey Weizen came out a bit stronger on the alcohol, but still a nice session beer.
Can’t wait to try both of these beers. Will try to remember to take pics of them once poured and post them on the site.
Remember, relax and have a homebrew!
I love brew day! The amazing aromas coming from the kitchen, filling the house will the smell of hops and boiling wort, and the enjoyment of making my very own tasty beer!
Yesterday I spent my evening brewing up my next batch of beer. This was another extract recipe, a custom made beer kit from my homebrew store (Stomp Them Grapes), that was designed to clone a Fat Tire from New Belgium Brewing.
The recipe was simple. It included only 5 different specialty grains, 6.5 lbs of LME, and 2 different types of hops, but the smell and taste were amazing. The fermentation started after about 2 hours and was going strong by the next morning. The color has lightened quite a bit and the airlock is very active. I can’t wait until it is ready to drink.
Well another Thanksgiving is in the bag.
Had an amazing time with family and friends. Got some well needed rest and gaming time in and was able to hit the ground running today at work. The beer and cider were well received and enjoyed by all. I can honestly say that this was my favorite year so far for Thanksgiving.
Hope you all had a wonderful year and are recovering well from your food comas, and always remember to relax and have a homebrew.
My sister and I decided we were going to make some hard apple cider to take with us to Thanksgiving at our dad’s. We started with 4 gallons of pure apple juice and added a little over a cup of brown sugar per gallon. We fermented them with champagne yeast right in their own bottles. Once they fermented down completely we added some chemicals to stop fermentation so we could add some more apple juice for bottling to increase the sweetness. We also decided to add some cherry flavor to about 1.5 gallons of the batch before bottling to see how it turned out.
Both of these taste AMAZING!
Added some custom bottle labels using some standard paper, printed at FedEx Office, and attached to the bottles with a glue stick. Personally, I think they turned out quite well.
What do you think?
- JD Hard Cider
- JD Cherry Cider